Brainstorming: How to modify run area for winter?


In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2018
I am currently in the process of getting ready for winter.

I want to modify/rebuild my run area so that my birds can still have outside time once it snows.
The area they use is currently is down to dirt that gets muddy as the top is only covered with some netting. They mostly free range, but get put in when no one is home.

I currently have an L-shaped run for my birds attached to their coop. The measurements for their area are 16'x16' with an 8'x8' coop inside. It is made in sections of 4ft H by 8ft L, and some 4ft H by 4ft L built out of 2x4s. That ended up being to be too short as they could fly out easily and I had to crouch down after I put up the netting to cover the top to keep them in. I then added extra 2ft panels (built out of 2x2s for less weight) above the 4ft panels and that worked so I didn't have to
crouch down. It isn't the greatest set-up but it works.

The panels are just screwed together and the bottom ones stay in place
nicely even with the horrible winds we get. The top ones are not as sturdy but they also stay put. It is not square/level as the ground starts to slope right where the panels end and has shifted with the birds digging at it and all the rain/water we have gotten this year. We rent our place and therefore didn't want to bury/cement poles in the ground.


We are soon going to also modify/finish building our coop so it is larger, probably doubling it, making it 16x8 so the run(as you look at it above) will probably be extended 8 more feet to the left.

I am thinking of building a sloped roof that comes off of their coop and was wondering if anyone has experience with the use of polycarbonate sheets?
I have questions about how they hold up to snow build up and if they help provide any source of heat? Also, if they would get too hot in the summer time?
As I mentioned they mostly free range but recently my turkeys have been in the run most of the day as they like to wander too far and had a run in with coyotes a while back and I would not want them overheating in the summer if they need to be in most of the day.

Also with my coop only being around 4.5ft at the sides and 8.5at the peak if I could attach the run roof to the coop roof so it sloped from the coop roof down to the 4ft fence panels? Or is my coop to short for the slope I would need? I think bringing it down to the 4ft tall panels would obviously be more sturdy.

I will be trying to cover the sides with clear plastic shower curtains, leaving a gap at the top for better air flow, as I saw suggested in another thread.

What are some suggestions on how to keep the ground dry? My birds(ducks and geese mainly) make a mess of their water. When it gets wet I put out straw to cover the ground and rake it up when it gets too icky, but with turkeys in most of the day the ground doesn't have a chance to dry up as well. I've seen people use sand, wood chips, or gravel. Any thoughts?

I am looking for any and all tips on letting my birds out during wintertime.

Thank you!
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Welcome to BYC!
Corrugated polycarbonate panels can work well, if properly supported underneath to carry the snow load. If you use the clear ones you can get some solar gain, depending on the rest of the run and if you keep snow cleared off.

Posting pics of your set up will go along ways to getting viable suggestions.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate is almost always a factor, and definitely for this topic.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, then it's always there!

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